DENVER, CO - April 20 2016: A 4/20 reveler walks past members of the Denver Police department while exhaling from a vaporizer during the annual stoner holiday. The Denver Police department had a presence, surrounding the annual 4/20 smoke out in Denver's Civic Center Park across from the Colorado state house, some participants were cited for underage or public use. (Photo by Vince Chandler / The Denver Post)

Cannabis tourism pro: NORML’s social marijuana use initiative no good

The Denver chapter of pro-marijuana group NORML has proposed an all-new initiative for social cannabis use in Colorado.

The initiative began after activists in Colorado dropped a measure in September 2015 that they had planned to bring to voters this November.

“We greatly appreciate the previous attempt to bring this issue to Denver voters, but we want to get this done,” Jordan Person, the chapter’s executive director, told Denver Post reporter Jon Murray in January. “The need is obvious as residents and visitors continue to have no legal place other than private homes to enjoy a legal product with like-minded adults.”

Colorado Cannabis Tours founder Mike Eymer agrees with Person: Tourists need a legal place to consume the product they took a plane, train or automobile to the Centennial State to enjoy.

His company aims to connect visitors with 420-friendly hotels, transportation, classes (Puff, Pass & Paint is now a subsidiary of Colorado Cannabis Tours) and exclusive access to marijuana shops and grow facilities.

Cannabist 420
The ability to share with like-minded cannabis consumers — as is standard during the annual 4/20 smoke out in Denver’s Civic Center Park — is one of the goals of NORML’s new social pot use initiative, but Cannabis Tours founder Mike Eymer believes it will never happen under the initiative’s current language. (Photo by Vince Chandler / The Denver Post)

A brick-and-mortar location is the next step for his company, says Eymer. The NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) social use initiative would allow for cannabis clubs and private consumption facilities to exist, but a limited number of annual permits would cap the number of events that could be held in each facility. Business owners will not be allowed to sell alcohol, food or cannabis, or to hold an event without a special permit under the proposed initiative.

“What am I going to sell to keep the lights on, to keep that person who is there maintaining that building paid?” Eymer asked while discussing the initiative on The Cannabist Show. “The bill was [intended] to ‘regulate marijuana like alcohol,’ so why don’t we just actually do that?”

He continues to theorize that if Colorado doesn’t find a place for visitors to legally consume socially, the state could see a drastic drop in tourist revenue if California or Nevada legalizes recreational marijuana.

Historically, the highest voter turnout occurs in a presidential election year — and that would be 2016. Eymer feels that a stronger initiative could be pushed through at the voting booth in November.